It has been obvious for some time that Chelsea have needed help in central midfield. The 2010/11 season exposed us in the centre of the pitch, with Michael Ballack's departure and Frank Lampard's injury leaving us very light in the middle; as a result the club engaged in a chase for Luka Modric which somehow ended up with us in possession of one Raul Meireles.
Meireles wasn't the answer, and since Carlo Ancelotti was sacked in May 2011, every Chelsea manager has struggled to field a truly world-class midfield. Midfield strength -- combining finesse and steel -- had been the calling card of the club for most of the previous decade, and it seemed as though there was no plan to restore it when it went missing.
In summer 2012, as defending European champions, the Blues sold central players rather than adding them, losing Meireles to Fenerbahce and sending the remains of Michael Essien to Real Madrid on loan. Last summer saw us acquire Marco van Ginkel, but at 20 he was never going to be an immediate answer to our problems and an unfortunate knee injury quickly ruled him out for most of the season anyway.
Chelsea's reluctance to add elite -- or even competent -- players to the centre to compliment Ramires, Lampard and John Obi Mikel while adding luxury buys elsewhere became something of a running joke. Even after Jose Mourinho came in, we didn't manage to add a true midfielder to the squad, instead spending a combined €55 million on Willian and Andre Schurrle to add depth in the attacking band.
It was all, frankly, getting a little bit silly.
And that's the context into which the Nemanja Matic purchase inserts itself. Forget striker, this is the position which Chelsea have been most needing help with for years, and they've finally got it now. And instead of just bringing a random warm body in, they have the reigning Liga ZON Sagres Player of the Year and a man considered to be one of the top defensive midfielders on the planet.
After years of waiting, we've finally spent money where we needed to rather than on whatever shiny toy caught our eye. The streak is over. The curse is broken. Life is good.
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